May 13, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Andrew Cashner (34) pitches during the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
It’s no secret that the Padres haven’t exactly been good this year. Poor offensive showings have ruined many good pitching outings, and we find ourselves close to the bottom of the league. As most teams do when they are in a poor position for playoffs, it is expected the Padres may sell off their stars. Even though their only real “stars” look like pitchers Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, there are valuable pieces to be traded with matching partners. Here is a list of the most likely to be traded, and the best returns possible given the situation:
Andrew Cashner – Trading away our ace would be a devastating blow to a team who struggles to find individual players worth marketing as much as Cashner. But the payoff for someone of his talent could be huge. Remember the deal the Rays were able to net for James Shields, a similar pitcher, which got them Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi, as well as a couple high ceiling and high risk prospects as well. The best bet for Cashner could end up being North of the border, as the Blue Jays need starting pitching depth to be taken seriously as contenders.
The deal would focus around top starting pitching prospect, Aaron Sanchez, who strikes out almost a batter an inning and is pitching at Triple A right now. A deal would also probably include top positional prospect Mitch Nay, a third baseman who projects to hit for both average and power. The Jays have shown a willingness to mortgage their future for players who are ready to win now, and this could be just another example along the way.
Tyson Ross- His value is sky high right now, and may never get higher if his heavy slider usage starts to wear down his arm ligaments again. Ross is an excellent pitcher, but has less trade value than Cashner due to injury issues. Toronto will again be interested in Ross, but his most likely destination is different than his ace teammate, and is more likely to end up in Baltimore.
The Orioles have been very interested in Jeff Samardzija for almost a month now, but a trade is yet to materialize. Ross could be the perfect Plan B for the team, as they have more than enough prospects to get a deal done. Hunter Harvey would be the most likely to go, a first round pick out of the 2013 amateur draft who has blossomed into a potential top 50 overall prospect. They also offer Dylan Bundy, who is much less likely, but is a former top five consensus prospect in all of baseball. Eduardo Rodriguez is another option, who has a steady mix of three pitches and projects to be a middle rotation starter.
Seth Smith– His hot start has been about the only good thing for the Padres’ offense this year, and they got him for a very reasonable price, relief pitcher Luke Gregerson. Smith has hit enough for a 161 wRC+, among the best in the league. This has many teams interested in acquiring him in case he is made available, but there’s one specific team who would make a perfect match.
The Royals are pushing hard against the Tigers for the division title, and know every extra iota of talent will be needed to win. Their outfield needs some help in production, and Smith could be a huge boost. In return, they can offer one of the most electric arms in the minors in the form of Kyle Zimmer, although the price tag might be too much. If Zimmer is a no-go, Raul Adalberto Mondesi and Jorge Bonifacio provide strong options as position players who could help get a deal done. There’s also the underrated Sean Manaea, who show flashes of a frontline starter, but health issues scare some teams away.
Losing starting talent is always frustrating for a fanbase, but the players we could get in return are about as exciting as it gets. Our major league roster may be struggling, but the farm system is booming, and will continue to do so as more trades happen. This is not a great year to be rooting in San Diego, but a corner is about to be turned. A new brand of Padres baseball is just on the horizon.